Nobody’s Victim: Attorney takes on social media giants to end online harassment


SOLEDAD: UNLESS YOU’RE LIVING ON
A REMOTE ISLAND WITH NO INTERNET
ACCESS, ALL OF US ARE ONLINE. AND THAT MEANS WE’RE ALL AT RISK
FOR CYBERBULLYING. WHAT MAY START AS AN INNOCENT
ONLINE CONVERSATION WITH A
STRANGER CAN LEAD TO SOMETHING
MUCH WORSE — INCLUDING
STALKING, REVENGE PORN, AND EVEN
RAPE. ACCORDING TO A NEW STUDY, ONE IN
EIGHT AMERICANS, MOSTLY WOMEN,
SAY THEY HAVE BEEN THE VICTIM OF
WHAT IS CALLED “NON-CONSENSUAL
PORNOGRAPHY.”
UNFORTUNATELY, MANY OF THE ANTI-STALKING LAWS WERE CREATED
BEFORE THE SOCIAL MEDIA AGE AND
OFFER LITTLE HELP FOR VICTIMS. CARRIE GOLDBERG IS TRYING TO
CHANGE THAT. SHE’S A LAWYER AND THE AUTHOR OF
A NEW BOOK, “NOBODY’S VICTIM:
FIGHTING STALKERS, PSYCHOS,
PERVS, AND TROLLS.”
SHE’S ALSO A SURVIVO
IT’S SO NICE TO HAVE YOU, KERRY. I KNOW THAT YOUR OWN PATH TO
BECOMING A LAWYER, AND HELPING
PEOPLE WHO ARE VICTIMS IS
ACTUALLY DUE TO YOUR OWN
EXPERIENCES. WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU? CARRIE: SO IN 2013, I WAS DATING
FOR THE FIRST TIME AFTER I’D
GOTTEN DIVORCED, AND I MET
SOMEBODY WHO JUST KIND OF SWEPT
ME OFF MY FEET. WE MET ONLINE, AND WE’D
DEVELOPED A REAL CONNECTION
BEFORE MEETING. AND AS SOON AS WE DID, IT WAS
JUST LIKE KIND OF AN
INSTA-MARRIAGE. AND VERY QUICKLY, THOUGH, IT
KIND OF WENT FROM BEING “OH HE’S
SO OBSESSED WITH ME” TO LI
SCARY OBSESSIO
AND AFTER ABOUT FOUR MONTHS, I
ENDED THE RELATIONSHIP AND HE BASICALLY TOLD ME THAT HE
WAS GOING TO SPEND THE REST OF
HIS LIFE DESTROYING MINE. YOU KNOW, HE WOULD SEND ME
MESSAGES SAYING THAT HE’D HIRED
PEOPLE TO COME RAPE ME. AND I WENT TO THE POLICE, AND
THEY TOLD ME GO TO FAMILY COURT. I WENT TO FAMILY COURT, AND TH
JUDGE SAID THAT I HAD A FIRST
AMENDMENT PROBLEM. AND I WAS LIKE, WHAT? SOLEDAD: FREE SPEECH? CARRIE: IT’S HIS FREE SPEECH TO
POST PICTURES OF MY GENITALS ON
THE INTERNET? THAT’S INSANE. AND SO IT WAS IT WAS A REAL
EUREKA MOMENT FOR ME. SOLEDAD: IT’S SO CRAZY TO ME
THAT A LAW CALLED “THE
COMMUNICATIONS DECENCY ACT” TO A
LARGE DEGREE ALLOWS SOME OF THIS
TO HAPPEN. EXPLAIN TO PEOPLE WHAT THE
COMMUNICATIONS DECENCY ACT I
CARRIE: THE COMMUNICATIONS
DECENCY ACT IS THIS OBSCURE
LITTLE LAW THAT WENT INTO EFFECT
IN 1996, AND BASICALLY IT SAYS THAT INTERNET COMPANIES CANNOT
BE HELD LIABLE FOR CONTENT THAT
THEIR USERS POST. AND THAT INCLUDES BIG COMPANIES. LIKE, A LOT OF THE HARASSMENT
AND REVENGE PORN THAT WE DEAL
WITH HAPPENS ON ON FACEBOOK, O
INSTAGRAM, ON TWITTER, AND THOSE
COMPANIES HAVE NO INCENTIVE TO
HELP, BECAUSE THEY CAN’T BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE IF THEY DON’T. SOLEDAD: ARE STATES DOING A
BETTER JOB THAN THE FEDERAL
GOVERNMENT IN IN MANAGING SOME
OF THESE ISSUE
CARRIE: CERTAINLY NOT, IN TERMS
OF HOLDING TECH COMPANIE ACCOUNTABLE, AND — AND REINING
THEM IN. THEY DON’T HAVE THE AUTHORITY,
BECAUSE THIS FEDERAL LAW TRUMPS
ANYTHING THAT STATES CAN DO. BUT STATES HAVE KIND OF STEPPED
UP IN TERMS OF, LIKE, REVENGE
PORN. FIVE YEARS AGO, WE ONLY HAD A
FEW STATES THAT HAD REVENGE PORN
LAWS, AND NOW WE HAVE LIKE 4
AND WE — WE STILL DON’T HAVE A
FEDERAL LAW, BUT THAT’S THAT’S
AN AREA THAT STATES HAVE BEEN STEPPING UP. SOLEDAD: WHAT DO YOU THINK
HAPPENS? I MEAN, WHERE DOES THIS END? DO YOU THINK THERE’LL BE A POINT
WHERE PEOPLE DON’T HAVE ALL
THEIR PERSONAL DATA RELEASED IN
A HARASSING WAY? CARRIE: I THINK WE NEED WE NEED
MORE LAWS. WE NEED MORE CUTTING-EDGE COURT
CASE
LIKE OURS AGAINST GRINDR. I MEAN, WE NEED TO JUST BE
CHALLENGING THE SYSTEM, AND
MAKING DEMANDS, AND SHUTTING
DOWN ALL THE PROPAGANDA THAT
SAYS THAT, YOU KNOW, IF WE HAVE
ANY LAWS THAT PROTECT PRIVACY AND PROTECT PEOPLE FROM BEING
HARASSED, THAT SUDDENLY IT’S
GOING TO, YOU KNOW, FREEZE ALL
THE SPEECH ON THE INTERNET. THAT’S THAT’S THE PROPAGANDA
WE’RE UP AGAINST. SOLEDAD: THE BOOK IS CALLED
“NOBODY’S VICTIM: FIGHTING
PSYCHOS, STALKERS, PERVS, AND
TROLLS
CAREY GO